Visions of sleepless nights dancing in my head

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, November 26, 2013 12:16 AM

Every once in a while, like almost any other functioning adult on the planet, I suffer from a bit of insomnia. Not the debilitating kind where I don’t sleep at all but rather the kind where I wake up sometime after I’ve managed to get to sleep, usually after about 3 hours, and I can’t get back to where I was. My brain starts to churn and I start making lists of everything that’s in my head, things  I need to do the following day, ideas for stories, for Christmas, for whatever, and because I know myself, I know that if I don’t write them down I’ll forget them. Plus, I know that if I get them out of my head, I have a better chance of allowing my brain to once again shut down until the sun comes up.

Last night was such a night. I awoke at 2:35 am. It was cold and quiet, save for the dog shifting in his bed and licking his paws, and my brain immediately started to fly around the room. I remembered about Justin’s car registration ending this month and that he got the car smogged in New York, where both he and the car currently reside, but that I didn’t have the smog certificate yet and that we need that in order to register it here. And the month runs out on Saturday.

I remembered that there were many emails I was supposed to return this weekend that I didn’t and work that I was supposed to finish yesterday but didn’t. And invoicing I needed to do but didn’t.

Then there was the occasional panic, the same panic that always happens in the deep darkness, the one that creeps in when I worry about losing clients and my source of income drying up and my age starting to work against me and then my heart starts to beat faster and sleep becomes even harder to attain.

These were the things buzzing my psyche in the wee hours of this morning when it was dark and cold and I was, thus, sleepless.

Once upon a time, when I first had sleepless nights, I would get myself hopelessly upset about the fact that I was going to be tired the next day. I would look at the clock and think: If I can get to sleep in the next half hour, I can get 5 hours. If I can get to sleep by 3:30, I’ll get 4 hours. When 3:30 would come and I’d still be awake, I’d be even more upset. Upset does not bode well for sleep. I think by giving myself unattainable deadlines, I was setting myself up for failure. And failure in the middle of the night when one is tired just leads to greater feelings of failure. As if not being able to sleep is somehow failing. How utterly ridiculous.

I think I learned this particular trick of staring at the clock and working myself into a non-sleep lather from my mother. She used to do the very same thing. She’d sit at the top of the stairs and cry. Crying is also not conducive to sleeping. I don’t think she still does; I hope not.

Somewhere along a sleepless night I learned an important lesson. If I’m not sleeping, there’s usually a reason and I just need to let the sleeplessness happen. I don’t fight it. I just use the time to think, to plan, to explore ideas, to dream without having to sleep.

It’s been very liberating. It doesn’t mean I’m any less tired the next day. It only means that I’m less stressed about it. It’s going to happen. I accept it and I allow visions of whatever to dance in my head while making sure to write it all down so as not to lose a minute.

Wishing pleasant dreams to all and to all a sleep filled night. Or at least a sleepless night filled with sleepless dreams.


live out loud

Comments (2) -

11/26/2013 6:34:34 AM #

Same here! I have been getting up between 4am and 5am almost every morning for the last couple of months. I decided that there is a reason, so I go with it. I actually enjoy it and get a lot done in the wee hours.

Larissa United States

11/26/2013 6:58:16 AM #

Always blame the mother!!!!  Smile

mom United States

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